It was around this time last month that we were testing various graphics cards in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops video game. I remember picking up a Radeon HD 4870 and thinking, "Wow, I've always had this thing," and in a sense, I have it. The Radeon HD 4000 series, codenamed the R700, was released two and a half years ago, and I'm sure many of you still have one of these cards in your desktop PC today.
The continuation of the R700 architecture was the highly anticipated R800, which paved the way for the Radeon HD 5000 series. The king of this series was the Radeon HD 5870, released in September 2009. Around 2,150 million transistors were packaged on the card, which were manufactured in a 40 nm manufacturing process.
The Radeon HD 5870 was a solid success for AMD as it remained their flagship single GPU for about 15 months and is only being replaced today. When we first tested the Radeon HD 5870, we concluded that it was one of the best graphics cards we have ever tested at this price point.
It took Nvidia about 6 months to catch fire again with the GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470 graphics cards, and even then, many people, including us, felt that they had missed out. Nvidia persevered, and after a few quick price cuts and improved driver support, they finally made a more compelling argument.
Below, the GeForce GTX 460 release and refined GF110 architecture helped the company establish a viable mainstream product and shed light on what was to come, namely the recent release of the GeForce GTX 580 and GeForce GTX 570 GPUs.
In the meantime, AMD has been offering a single Radeon HD 6000 series GPU since October, bringing the new Radeon HD 6870 to the GeForce GTX 460 with an MSRP of $ 240. As impressive as the Radeon HD 6870 is at this price point, not to mention the confusing naming scheme, AMD pointed out that this is not a 5870 replacement.
After a short delay, AMD brings us the new Radeon HD 6970. With the code name Cayman XT, this new graphics processor has 2640 million transistors, 23% more than the 5870. Like the new graphics cards Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 570 in the Radeon HD 6970 These are enhanced versions of the GTX 480 and GTX 470 graphics cards. It is essentially an enhanced version of the 5870. To find out exactly what this means, read on …